Audi S8 (2012–2017)

Model History

August 2012

Audi S8 launched

The new 4.0-litre TFSI in the S8 generates no less than 520PS and delivers a constant 650 Nm of torque to the crankshaft between 1700 and 5500 rpm. The result is outstanding performance: the sprint from zero to 62mph takes just 4.2 seconds, and top speed is electronically capped at 155mph.

This makes the fuel consumption of the sonorous and smooth twin-turbo V8 all the more amazing: It averages 27.7mpg on the combined cycle, a considerable gain over its competitors, and its predecessor the 5.2-litre V10 in the previous S8 posted 21.4mpg in the equivalent test. This has been achieved despite a 70PS increase in output.

The new Audi S8 strikes its impressive balance between performance and efficiency with the help of the combined technologies of the Audi modular efficiency platform, including the recuperation and start-stop systems. The newly developed cylinder on demand technology also plays a very significant role. Under part load, it deactivates four of the eight cylinders for an efficiency gain that is particularly pronounced at moderate motorway speeds. A package of acoustic measures including the Active Noise Cancellation system suppresses possible intrusive noise and vibrations.

The eight-speed tiptronic in the S8 also unites sportiness and efficiency. It uses tall gears at low revs whenever possible, but downshifts quickly and comfortably when requested by the driver. The tiptronic delivers the power to a quattro drivetrain combining a self-locking centre differential with the sport differential on the rear axle. During dynamic driving, the lion's share of the power flows to the outside wheel to literally push the large saloon into the corner.

The new Audi S8 also pulls out all the stops when it comes to the chassis. One of its features is a specially tuned adaptive air suspension with variable damping, which can vary the ride height of the body between three levels and thus ensure a multi-faceted driving experience. It perfectly complements the dynamic steering, also a standard feature, that adapts its steering ratio and boost to the vehicle’s speed. It uses slight, nearly imperceptible steering corrections to stabilize handling at the cornering limit.

The Audi drive select dynamics system encompasses these two systems as well as engine management, the eight-speed tiptronic and the sport differential. The driver can determine the function of these components by choosing between the five modes comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and efficiency.

The standard, S-specific wheels measure 9 J x 20 and are shod with 265/40-series tyres. The four internally ventilated disc brakes measure 400 millimetres in diameter up front and 365 millimetres at the rear. The matt black calipers up front bear S8 logos. Each of the optional carbon fibre-ceramic discs saves over five kilograms of weight. Their calipers are anthracite grey. The ESP stabilization program includes a sport mode, in which engine output is determined solely by the position of the pedals.

A decisive advantage of the S8 is its comparatively low weight of 1,975 kilograms. The luxury saloon’s ASF (Audi Space Frame) body is made almost entirely of aluminium. Only the B-pillars are made of ultra high-strength steel. The body weighs just 231 kilograms; a conventional steel construction would be around 100 kilograms heavier. The Audi ultra-lightweight construction allows weight to be reduced in other areas as well, such as the chassis.

Fine design details signal the special position that the 5.15 metre-long S8 occupies in the Audi range. The single-frame grille is platinum grey and its eight double bars are covered in chrome. An aluminium-look blade makes the bumper appear sharper, and there are high-gloss black slats and aluminium-look ribs in the side air intakes.

On the flanks, body colour trim strips on the sills, door handles with strips of aluminium and polished aluminium-look mirror housings catch the eye. The diffuser insert at the back of the car includes a blade with a two-layer aluminium-look finish offset with parts in platinum grey. The exhaust system ends in two oval dual tailpipes in a chrome-look finish.

S8 or V8 T badges can be found at the front, on the boot lid and on the sides. The colour range includes 13 shades, two of which Daytona Grey and Prism Silver are reserved for the S8.

Inside, small yet effective accents mark out the top model in the A8 range. The multi-way, power-adjustable comfort sport seats have been designed exclusively for the S8. They are optionally available with exclusive seat upholstery in quilted lunar silver. The stitching and piping are in contrasting steel grey, while the upper inlays on the instrument panel and tiptronic selector lever are finished in Carbon Atlas.

The leather multifunction sport steering wheel has colour-contrasting stitching and an S8 emblem, which can also be found on the instruments. Typical of the Audi

S models, these have grey dials with white needles a design which is repeated in the classic analogue clock. The illuminated door sill trims with the S8 logo are a further eye-catcher. The display of the driver information system and the MMI monitor greet the driver with special S8 screens. The shift paddles and pedals are in an aluminium-look finish; a red ring frames the start button.

The S8 offers a wide selection of interior colours, inlays and seat upholstery. These include particularly soft Valcona leather and seats with ventilation and massage functions. The leather package, a DVD changer, the convenience key with sensor-controlled boot lock and ambient lighting round out the list of standard equipment. The Audi S8 is also equipped with LED headlights and double glazing.

Beyond the generous standard equipment, Audi makes all of the high-end options from the A8 series available in the new S8. The driver assistance systems, which are closely networked with one another and the navigation system, are particularly innovative.

The core of these is the adaptive cruise control system with stop & go function; others include Audi side assist, Audi lane assist, the speed limit display and the night vision assistant with highlighting of detected pedestrians.

Supplementing these technologies is the Audi pre sense safety system, which is available in a number of versions. A new break recommendation function uses steering motions and additional parameters to detect if the driver is getting tired and issues an appropriate warning.

New to the A8 family is the parking system with 360° camera. Four small cameras record images of the saloon's immediate surroundings and a computer splices them together. The driver can call up a variety of views on the MMI monitor, including a virtual top-down view. The system enhances safety while manoeuvring and in narrow driveways. Special views allow the driver to see cross-traffic.

MMI navigation plus, which features as standard, represents the state-of-the-art in infotainment systems. It includes the groundbreaking MMI touch input system, a large hard drive and a high-resolution 8-inch display. The high-end system can be combined with a Bluetooth online car phone to bring special Internet services to the car and provide WLAN connectivity for mobile devices.

August 2015

Audi S8 plus introduced

Ramping up power from the 520PS offered by the ‘standard’ S8 to 605PS, the S8 plus is also capable of producing up to 750Nm of torque - the highest output of any Audi in the current model range. It will open for ordering in October, priced from £97,700 OTR, and first UK deliveries are expected to commence in January 2016.

Carbon fibre is used on the flaps in the side air inlets and the blade on the front apron. The rear diffuser, Singleframe front grille, air inlets and window trims form part of the black styling package, as do the mirror housings. Distinctive design characteristics of the S8 plus also include darkened tail lights and a rear lip spoiler in body colour. As an option, the mirror housings and rear spoiler can also be specified in carbon fibre.

Matrix LED headlights are standard, complemented by dynamic turn signals front and rear. These state-of-the-art lights use mapping data from the MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and other sensors to individually dim or illuminate the 25 small, individual LEDs as needed. They project an extremely broad pool of light without causing glare to oncoming traffic.

Inside, the S sports comfort sport seats with 22-way adjustability and memory function can be exclusively upholstered in black full-leather with contrasting stitching and piping in Arras red as an option, along with the headlining and rear parcel shelf in black Alcantara.

A contrasting red thread woven into the upper inlay can also be specified in favour of the carbon atlas inlays fitted as standard. Black piano paint trims the gear selector lever of the tiptronic and the centre console. Characteristic of the interior of the S models are the round instruments with grey dials and white needles and the stainless steel pedals.

Like the more familiar S8 the new plus model is built exclusively on the ‘standard’ wheelbase. It offers extensive standard features over and above its 520PS counterpart’s already exhaustive list. In addition to highlights like the power-operated hands-free boot lid, advanced key, 14-speaker BOSE surround system and advanced parking system with top view camera, the plus version gains privacy glass, power door closure and adaptive cruise control with Audi pre-sense front.

What does a Audi S8 (2012 – 2017) cost?

Contract hire from £1,570.96 per month